December 21, 2021

The 10 most-read pipes|drums Features of 2021

We brought you our 10 most-read News stories of 2021, and now here are the 10 most-read Feature stories of the year. These are the Interviews, Reviews, and creative Features from the nearly 350 stories we brought to you over the last 12 months.

Just click on the headlines to go to the article.

Most feature pieces require a subscription to access and naturally the ones that don’t gained more readers and viewers. We hope you are one of the thousands of faithful subscribers to pipes|drums. If you’re not yet, why not consider this $15 contribution not only to access every one of the nearly 7,000 articles in our archive, but contribute to the world’s most popular, independent and non-profit publication for pipers and drummers. You can also give a subscription as a gift!

Now, on to the top 10 . . .





pipes|drums 2021 Pride Month Panel – Part 1

We were delighted that four leaders in our art contributed their thoughts in our first Pride Month Panel, where they spoke freely and openly about their experiences in the piping and drumming. Our two-part video series with Leilani Lucas, Rebecca Mair, Laureano Thomas-Sanchez and Trevor Takahashi was an eye opener to many. While our art and subculture have come a long way, there’s clearly a long way still to go. People like these four will help us get there.





At 63, Glenfiddich Champion Jack Lee works harder to get even better

The piping phenomenon that is Jack Lee continues to drop our jaws while he sets new records in piping history. His win at the 2021 Glenfiddich Championships at age 63 is a new benchmark. While top pipe bands are populated mostly with players younger than 30, the solo piping world is seeing its greatest exponents carry on into their forties, fifties and sixties. There’s no real reason for anyone to stop, and Jack Lee shares how his love for the music and his desire to share his knowledge keep him pushing ahead.





Women in Piping and Pipe Bands: a pipes|drums panel discussion – Part 1

We were grateful and pleased to have five of our greatest women in piping and drumming get together to discuss their experiences and outlook. Margaret Dunn, Jenny Hazzard, Shaunna Hilder, Kylie MacHattie and Glenn Mackay-Johnstone were candid and clear, and some of their comments were truly amazing. Thousands of pipes|drums readers gained from their illumining insights. In the area of gender equality and equity, we have moved well ahead, but here, too, there is a long way to travel. pipes|drums will continue to tackle previously taboo topics with an eye to gaining information so that all of us can make better decisions. It’s what we do.





Drummers Leading: our video panel with three of the world’s greatest LDs – Part 1

Jake Jørgensen, Eric MacNeill and Steven McWhirter are three of the idiom’s most accomplished snare drummers. Getting these three greats of the games together to hear their thoughts about the challenges and opportunities of the first covid year was an important discussion. Looking back now on the January 2021 discussion, we are reminded that a 2021 season looked promising then. Their thoughts on moving forward optimistically were valued by readers.





Getting Back At It: we survey band leaders on competition return and other shutdown issues

Our extensive survey of Grade 1 and Grade 2 pipe-majors and lead-drummers showed that they didn’t want to diminish playing requirements, but were ready to accept a lower standard if it meant just back at it. Unfortunately, in most areas there were few if any opportunities to compete in 2021, and the UK has now seen two full seasons cancelled. It was interesting to see how associations responded to our findings.





Piping during a pandemic – an open letter to women ‘of a certain age’

Piper Laura Mullin shared her deeply personal thoughts about being a woman who left the art only to return to it decades later. “Yes, it was easier when we were 17. It is much, much tougher now. But so are you. Think of what you’ve lived through so far. Childbirth? Loss of loved ones? Heartbreak? Homeschooling!!? All of the above? The most challenging day piping is a piece of cake compared to that.” Her article resonated with many thousands of readers.





Opinion: Tune! Tune! Tune! Time to stop the tradition of interminable in-performance tuning

Some things just have to be said. The tradition of lengthy tuning on stage is a peculiarity of Highland pipers. Yes, it’s a temperamental instrument with its four reeds, but so too is a guitar with six strings. We were not advocating for zero tuning on stage; just a lot less of it. We firmly believe lengthy tuning is a taught tradition passed along from generation to generation. Interminable tuning serves to alienate listeners. We can do better.





‘We won’t shed a tear in our glasses of beer, cuz the judges know bugger-all’

We shared a fun video by Grade 2 City of Regina that the band made in the wake of having to cancel their annual Mid-Winter Ceilidh fundraiser. “A Well-Blown E” is the band’s contribution to the sea chanty trend in the early part of 2021. It was a bright spot we all needed at a particularly bleak point in the year.





P-M Richard Parkes MBE: 40 years leading Field Marshal Montgomery – Part 3 (video)

In April, Richard Parkes marked fourth decade of leading Field Marshal Montgomery. Acknowledged as the greatest pipe-major in pipe band history, Parkes has won more titles than anyone and is an inspiration for all in the art. We were delighted that he shared his exclusive thoughts with pipes|drums readers and viewers in our three-part video interview.





The 20th annual pipes|drums New Year’s Honours

Our annual New Year’s Honours came out at the stroke of midnight GMT as the bells ushered in 2021. It was the twentieth year that we presented our honours, decided as always by a panel of experts who had the tough task of choosing the best and most important of the last 12 months. You can look forward to the twenty-first annual pipes|drums New Year’s Honours on December 31st!


According to the numbers, those were the 10 most-read pipes|drums Feature articles of 2021. We’re busy putting together and planning for many great features in 2022. If you ever want to contribute, we’re all ears! Drop us an email and we’d be pleased to discuss.

We brought subscribers about 50 feature articles in 2021, so if you don’t already subscribe, maybe you’ll do that. It’s just a few pennies a day. Just click here for options. We don’t have rich princes or corporations or associations as our sugar daddies, so it’s only subscribers and advertisers who keep things going. We like it that way, because we’re independent. Thanks for contributing!



The 10 most-read pipes|drums News stories of 2021
December 18, 2021

The 10 most-read pipes|drums articles of 2020

The 10 most-read pipes|drums articles of 2019
December 29, 2019

The 20 most-read pipes|drums news stories of 2018
December 28, 2018

The 10 most-read pipes|drums stories of 2017
December 22, 2017





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